Does Social Media Cause Depression?

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and many other social media platforms have been growing for the past few years. People can connect to friends, family, and even strangers through social media. Constantly being connected to the world around you through an electronic device could have harmful drawbacks.People always have the need for more likes or to see what everyone else is doing. Perhaps this obsessive behavior could lead mental issues, like depression. I want to research is if Social Media causes Depression. Let us take a look at some studies.

A team from University of Pittsburgh published a study in the Journal of Depression and Anxiety that measured mental health after spending a lot of time on social media. It was an observational study that had 1787 American adults (age 19-32) participate in a questionnaire. The questionnaires measure variable was the amount of time each person spent on the following social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube, etc. As a result of the study, the researchers found that on average, participants used social media 61 minutes a day.

The participants then were tested for depression by using the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Scale. This scale measured symptoms or signs of depression in the participants. The results showed more than a quarter of the participants signaled symptoms of depression. The most interesting I found was that those who checked their social media platforms most often were 2.7 times more likely to be depressed than others who did not check as often. According to the researchers, those who spent the most time on social media platforms had the probability of 1.7 of having depression.

We know that social media could have caused depression based on the study’s results. However, third variables are certainly a possibility. More importantly though, there could be a possibility of reverse causation. Perhaps depression is causing people to use social media more often than others. Depressed people could be using social media to fill the the aspect of their life that is bringing them down.


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1 thought on “Does Social Media Cause Depression?

  1. Patrick Winch

    Alex- I found this post interesting because I’ve definitely come across a few friends here and there who look to social media for validation. They judged their worth based off of likes, and took it very seriously when their posts did not get enough attention. These experiences are the reason why I believe that while social media might not be the direct/only cause of depression, it definitely doesn’t help get rid of it. It is especially dangerous because it can make people feel lonely and left out. The article I found is written by Science Daily, and it elaborates on your point, explaining the correlation between social media and depression in teens.

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